Review of Gricar case delayed again

pbosak@centredaily.comNovember 2, 2006 

BELLEFONTE — Yet another delay.

The much-anticipated meeting of Pennsylvania State Police criminal investigators reviewing the investigation into the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar has been postponed until the week of Nov. 15.

The meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and today at an undisclosed location.

State police investigators -- the Criminal Investigation Analysis Team -- from troops across the state are studying the investigation by Bellefonte police to determine whether any leads may have been missed.

They have scheduled, and then postponed, their meeting three times now.

"I don't believe it's by any means an active investigation at this point," said a clearly frustrated Tony Gricar, the missing prosecutor's nephew and family spokesman.

"I think it's been postponed enough. It seems to be a vicious cycle, just like everything else in this case to this point."

Yet again, the delay was blamed on scheduling issues.

But Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira, who asked for the state police review in May, said he is not losing patience.

"I would rather delay it and make sure it's done right rather than wish we had the input of three other investigators who weren't available," Madeira said.

"They are literally bringing (criminal investigators) from across the state to meet with us."

But Gricar, who reiterated Wednesday his call for state police to take over the investigation, said that pushing the date back to mid-November could cause even more delays with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming.

"Is this going to go on into January, February?" Gricar said.

State police spokesman Jack Lewis was working to find an explanation for the delays Wednesday but was unable to reach the proper personnel, he said in an e-mail.

Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver could not be reached Wednesday.

Gricar was last heard from April 15, 2005, when he called his live-in girlfriend, and co-worker at the District Attorney's Office, to tell her he was taking a drive on Route 192 toward Lewisburg and that he would not be home at midday to walk the dog.

His red and white Mini Cooper was found the next day in a Lewisburg parking lot outside an antiques mall.

There was no trace of what happened to the career prosecutor, who was eight months away from retirement when he vanished.

Gricar's laptop, minus its hard drive, was found by fishermen in the Susquehanna River. Months later, the hard drive was found along the river banks, too badly damaged for any information to be retrieved from it.

Pete Bosak can be reached at 235-3928.

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